A bus company has apologised for one of its drivers leaving a teenage girl stranded after dark and in sub-zero temperatures.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan Belcourt, who had been working at her new job in Winslow, was attempting to get home to Buckingham at around 5.30pm last Wednesday evening when the incident occurred.
Like many people, Tegan had been anxious about using public transport on her own for the first time, but chose last Wednesday to take that step.
Unfortunately, through no fault of her own, things did not go well.
To begin with, the bus driver attempted to charge Tegan £5.20 for the journey. Having meticulously researched, the teenager knew that the price should have been £3.50, and indeed Arriva, the bus company in question, have since confirmed this with us.
Tegan’s mum, Mandy Belcourt, had given her daughter a £5 note to cover the fare as advertised. Alas, the driver insisted the price was £5.20 and refused to let Tegan on.
She pleaded with the driver – even offering to get off at an earlier stop – but the driver refused and turned her away.
Tegan was subsequently left standing in the freezing cold with insufficient clothing, and had to wait around 30 minutes for her mum to come to the rescue.
Mandy Belcourt, said: “I am disgusted that the safety and wellbeing of my daughter was put at risk as she didn’t have 20p as a consequence of being over charged.
“She had to get off the bus in the dark and freezing conditions.”
The Bucks Herald contacted Arriva with the details of the incident and Darren Swain, Aylesbury General Mananger, provided the following comment:
“Our advice to all of our driving staff has been, and always will be, to ensure that vulnerable passengers are never left at the roadside.
“With this incident the conduct of the driver concerned has clearly fallen short of our expectations, our company policies and the usual high standards of customer service levels we expect of our staff here at Aylesbury.
“We will conduct a full investigation into this matter and take appropriate disciplinary action as required.
“We apologise for not exacting our duty of care in this instance and for the distress caused to our passenger.”
Dawn Badminton-Capps, a director at Bus Users UK, a charity that advocates for the rights of bus users, said:
“We would expect a driver to use their initiative, assess the situation and to have let that young person onto the bus.”
She added: “Our expectation would be that the operator would take this situation seriously.”
Has a similar incident happened to you? What have your experiences been with the region's public transport? Let us know. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org